England coach Fabio Capello says he is surprised the progress his side have made as he approaches his first year in charge.
Capello succeeded Steve McClaren after England’s failure to reach Euro 2008 and has seen an immediate improvement in the team’s results.
The 2-1 win over Germany in Berlin on Wednesday means England end 2008 on the back of five successive wins.
“We are further forward than I thought we would be after our first year,” said Capello, who took over in January.
“Before I took the job I knew the players but when we played against Switzerland I understood the work was going to be very hard. It was a very big job,” he added.
“We needed to recover the confidence and spirit. The players have a lot of ability but they were only showing it in training and in the Premier League, not with the national team.
“Changing that is one of the most important things we have done.”
The Germany result means England have won eight and drawn one of his 10 matches in charge, with the only blip being the 1-0 defeat by France in March.
“I think it is impossible to be better than this,” Capello said. “We have played 10 games and after every one I said the players had taken another step forward.”
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the win over Germany was how England’s fringe players seemed to rise to the occasion.
Michael Carrick, Glen Johnson and Shaun Wright-Phillips and Stewart Downing all impressed after many of England’s bigger names dropped out of the squad because of injuries.
“It shows the strength in depth of the squad, which is vital,” said Capello. “You’re not always going to have everyone available.
“I am very happy for these [selection] problems. We have plenty of time to decide upon the next squad.”